Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Between Moon and Moon: Selected Correspondence.
Graves, Robert (1990).
Mount Kisco, NY: Moyer Bell Limited.
(Edited with commentary and notes by Paul OÆPrey).
Description: Paperback, first American edition, 322 pages.
Contents: introduction, acknowledgements, correspondents, biographical
notes, Part 1: 1946-1951, Part 2: 1951-1957, Part 3: 1957-1963, Part 4:
1964-1972, Appendix: æSummary of Critical PrinciplesÆ from The Nazarene
Gospel Restored, notes, index.
Excerpt(s): In August  Wasson sent Graves a detailed account of his
æmysticalÆ experience of eating the Mexican mushroom and this triggered off
further thoughts on mushrooms and their place in ancient religion in GravesÆ
mind. He first of all linked æmushroomsÆ with æmysteryÆ in Greek, both having
a common stem; then, on the problem of why some peoples are
æmycophagousÆ, i.e. mushroom-eating (there are two main groups the Limousin
groupùProvence to Cataloniaùand the Slavonic group), and others
mycophobic, he suggested (21 August): [in a letter to Wasson]
A new idea: do you not think it possible that mycophoby is perhaps due
to a tabu on mushrooms because of their oracular sacredness, translated
popularly into fear of their poison? I am suddenly convinced of this. Nobody
leaves remotely edible food uneaten except for religious reasons ... That
would imply that the mycophagous tribes came from an area where mushrooms had
so sacral use. (pages 145-146)
22 December, Winter Solstice 1956. ... Dear Gordon ...
About Ambrosia withheld from mortals because it
conveyed immortality. It has been identified with the sanscrit a-mreta
(elixir of) immortality - the a being privative, and the mreta meaning death. But
anabrosia means æwhat is eaten up thereÆ or æfood which grows up thereÆ.
[Wasson in his letter of 21 November 1969] also said that his omission
of æCentaurÆs FoodÆ [in Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality] was not
ædeliberate and intentionalÆ; he hadnÆt mentioned the Greeks at all, not
liking to make war on two fronts at once, but was æreserving itÆ for the future when
he would point out that ambrosia is cognate, according to linguists, with
æamrita, the Vedic word for ôsomaö in its loftiest aspects. (page 285)
22 December, Winter Solstice 1956 ... Dear Gordon ...
I am in bed with a cold and this problem is haunting me. I wonder
whether the mouse-feasts which the Israelites were forbidden to partake of
were really mouse feasts ù whether the MY stem common to mice and
mushrooms was not the cause of a disguised reference to mushroom feasts.
Hence perhaps, the mice and the ermrods? (page 159)
On 31 January  Graves ate pills made from the Mexican hallucinogenic
mushroom Psilocybe Heimsii, in WassonÆs East End Avenue apartment, while
listening, in complete darkness, to the Zapotec curanduraÆs invocation to
Tlal=c, Mexican god of mysteries and lightening. The experience had a
profound effect on Graves, who considered himself to be literally eating æthe
food of the godsÆ ... (Page 189)
7 February 1960
My dear Gordon: ... I have no doubt at all but that the mushroom should be
restored among Europeans and people of European descent to its original
(presumed) position in religion; first of all as an initiation ceremony to
religion at puberty; then as a heightening of the marriage rite; finally as a viaticum
û so that when the door of heaven opens one really enters and sees those one has
Jerome RobbinsÆs remark was one which I concurred wholeheartedly; æWhy
reserve these drugs for the mentally sick? They should be given to the
mentally whole. Especially to poets and artists.Æ ... And one should not be given the food of
the gods unless in a state of grace. (pages 189-190)
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